We know the story. On Tuesday November 3rd, 2020, more Americans than in elections past cast their vote for their next President of the United States. A preponderance of mail-ins caused a counting delay across numerous battleground states, but Joe Biden gradually claimed an electoral lead through all.
It wasn’t until Saturday night November 7th, that CNN called Pennsylvania for Biden declaring him President-elect of the United States. Two minutes later, News Corp’s Sky News UK concurred.
Time then froze for thirteen minutes. Election watchers waited for a confused Neil Cavuto, live on Fox News caught in the headlights of CNN’s chutzpah, to offer composure. His news direction came.
Fox not only called Pennsylvania for Biden but Nevada too. Kingmaker Rupert Murdoch had signed off. Joe Biden would be the 46th President of the United States on January 20th, 2021 and seventeen minutes after that, Biden gave a victory thank you.
Where was Donald Trump?
Georgia on my mind
To use Trump’s words from 2016, Biden’s win “was a landslide”. It mirrored Trump’s own 306 Electoral Votes to 232. Biden had not only swung Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania back to the Democrats, he’d switched the traditional Republican states of Arizona and Georgia too. Georgia was now a Democratic island in the American South.
Sure enough Trump, being Trump, did not concede defeat and as of writing still has not. The reasons for his thinking are not the focus of this article’s story—that will come later—and trust me when I say that no journalist to date, has yet nailed its essence.
It did, however, mean that Trump would start claiming “widespread electoral fraud”, “more votes that voters”, “corrupt electoral officials”, “corrupt electoral equipment”, “overseas manipulation by Venezuela”, “corporate corruption”, and my favourite, a conclusion uttered by Trump’s legal eagle Jenna Ellis calling a verdict two days ago by the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals refusing to invalidate millions of Biden votes, rotten in that:
The activist judicial machinery in Pennsylvania continues to cover up the allegations of massive fraud.
The appeals judge was a Trump appointee. Keep that term “activist” in mind though, as the next few weeks inch on. It’s a new catchword in the Trump Right’s vernacular. “Activist judges”. “Activist journalists”. Are “activist voters” next?
So, the Trump campaign launched lawsuits in every battleground state trying, in some form, to have “illegal votes” set aside. An illegal vote seems to be any vote cast for Joe Biden.
Now we’re getting to the crux of the matter, for Trump’s “Elite Legal Strike Force” as he calls it, comprising Ellis, Rudy Giuliani and conspiracy nut Sidney Powell, have slowly dug themselves an abyss that’s just beginning to consume the very Republican dream.
You see, they’ve sued in Georgia too.
Georgia means more than a Trump state
Georgia wasn’t just a tight win for Biden. It was also a perilous contest for its two incumbent Republican US senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. Neither they nor their opponents earned more than 50% of the popular vote on November 3rd and Georgia law now requires runoff elections for their seats.
Perdue will square off against Democrat Jon Ossoff, and Loeffler, a controversial mega-millionaire only appointed to her seat by Georgia’s governor in 2019 after a resignation due to ill health, will face off against Democrat Raphael Warnock.
At stake is control of the currently Republican-dominated US Senate itself, where a one-seat majority exists. Should the Democrats sweep the runoffs on January 5, 2021, they’ll then not just control the presidency, they’ll run both houses of Congress too.
You don’t cry fraud with elections to come
The ridiculous logic Republicans now face is this.
They need to claim electoral fraud in Georgia to have votes invalidated for Trump, but they’ll then need to deny any claim of fraud from those very same electoral processes—including another record mail-in—to have their senators returned.
You can’t have it both ways.
Thing is, in today’s Republican Land where conspiracy theories are the currency that binds the movement together, extremist Fox News alternatives like Newsmax and One America News Network have become conspiracy mills, and they’ve called for a boycott of the “fraudulent” Georgia runoffs altogether.
Taking their cue, some folks have even sparked Twitter and Parler trends imploring Georgia’s Republicans to instead protest their vote, writing “Trump” on their ballots. This they say will then make Trump a senator. Democrats are encouraging them to do it.
Fraud or not fraud? That is the question
Republicans need to make a decision and do it quickly.
Will they continue to pursue claims of electoral fraud across America including the state of Georgia, without which Trump can never win the Electoral Votes needed to hold onto his presidency? Not that he ever will. Or will they concede that no widespread electoral fraud ever existed, so that Georgia can vote in good conscience and faith?
While writing, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court just threw out the latest Republican legal challenge to invalidate millions of Democratic mail-in votes and stop that state from certifying its count for Biden: The state has already been certified for him.
It’s this type of mindless litigation that has, of now, earned the Trump campaign a win-loss ratio of 1 to 39 and pundits predict it might end 1 to 50 by Biden’s Inauguration Day.
The obvious answer then, is to say, “Screw Trump” and put the Republican Party and its senate majority above all.
But Trump’s loss has meant a solid stream of financial contributions to the Republican coffers and cutting off that money will be difficult.
Still, it’s make or break for the Republican Party. Its media-stoked, paranoid, conspiracist, pro-freedom, drain-the-swamp voting base has now worked itself up into such a frenzy of delusion—that all that is Republican is imperilled.
It’s just how do you convince a mob to lay down their Trump flags and vote for politicians when they believe that Trump transcends any “illegitimate” federal body?
How do you convince them that the only fraud is in the very conspiracies they take succour from—and that voting for a federal body is their true patriotic American duty?
That’s the mess you find yourself in when you ally with extremists on any side of the political fence. And when it comes to the political Right, Trump’s “Patriots” are the hardest to fathom of all.
Thing is, if the Republicans lose the senate run-offs in Georgia, come January 20th, Donald Trump’s political career will be over anyway. Any hope of his to influence US politics will be seen for the selfishness it’s always been.
“Dump Trump and vote for the Senate”: that has to be the Republican’s mantra from tomorrow. Yet, with Trump’s legal elites and the alt-Right media that devours them, they might be sending the party to its political Valhalla instead.
© 2020 Adam Parker.
Picture credit: © 2020 New York Times.